Rural Integrated Programs

Numerous landless rural Bangladeshis live below the poverty line without the education, employment opportunities or financial means to improve their situation. These people – often women – have no options and no defense against poor health, natural disaster and the dictates of other more powerful people.

The formation of small community groups enables people in rural communities to make progress which they would be powerless to achieve as individuals. Symbiosis has been the catalyst for starting more than 800 groups who meet each week across Bangladesh

Symbiosis offers eight months of adult functional education to these groups of illiterate Bangladeshis, primarily women, who go from powerless illiteracy to being able to read, write and do basic mathematics. Literacy and numeracy is, however, only one part of the Functional Education Course. The curriculum addresses issues of relevance to the life of the villagers including education in health and hygiene, classes in nutrition, child growth monitoring, kitchen garden production, the value of hygienic latrines and the value of savings.

Members of these groups then go on to establish their own savings collectives and start to generate their own income from entrepreneurial small businesses. These self-governed groups save small amounts – usually less than 20 or 30 cents per person per week - and gradually accumulate capital from which they can take loans to establish small businesses. With new income to support their family, women group members can experience the empowerment of being able to bring money into the home.

Over the last two decades, the groups have amassed savings within extremely poor communities totaling the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars – which will always belong to them, and be used by them.

Symbiosis staff, drawn from the local communities, guide and support the groups, usually of 20 people, through the initial phases of education, training and development and assist the groups to develop their own leadership with decreasing dependency on Symbiosis, with the ultimate objective being the operation of independent sustainable groups

Rural Integrated Development Projects have been established in 18 sub-districts across nine districts where the organization works. Click on each of the following projects to learn a little more about them and to read a story directly from the people that Symbiosis serves.


Tangail Rural Development Service

Netrakhona Rural Development Service

Dhobaura Phulpur Development Service

Sharishabari Area Development Project 

Dhunot Development Project

Madargonj Development Project 

Gazipur Rural Integrated Project

Manikgonj Rural Development Service

Jamuna River Sandbar (Char) People's Development Projects A and B

River Gypsy (Bedey) Sandar Development Project